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Kim Dotcom's Mega: Is This Your New Cloud Storage Solution?

By William Peacock, Esq. on January 30, 2013 3:01 PM

We're big fans of DropBox around here. It auto-syncs files to the cloud, which allows us, and our coworkers, to access our files from anywhere, on nearly any device. However, unless you want to pay a monthly fee, storage space is limited. There have been security breaches in the past, which would give us pause to store clients' files on their servers long-term.

Being the geeks that we are, we're always curious when a new (free!) provider emerges, especially when that provider gives you 50 gigabytes of storage and state-of-the-art encryption.

If Kim Dotcom sounds familiar to you, you probably get out as little as we do. He founded MegaUpload, which was a repository used by copyright infringers to share pirated movies, music, and software. After the site got shut down, and Dotcom avoided extradition to the U.S., he launched

What's So Great About It?

Encryption. Allegedly unbreakable encryption. Dotcom is so confident in the security that he has offered a cash prize to anyone who can crack it, reports IBTimes. If you want your brain to hurt, you can read the specifics and drawbacks of Mega's AES-128 encryption and entropy randomness at ArsTechnica.

The copious space and lack of file size limits is also a plus. Many providers, like Dropbox and Box, have limits on the size of a file which prevents you from uploading videos and other large files. Of course, not all videos are bootleg - for example, you might have video footage for a client's case.

What's Not So Great?

The service's shady past might make you think twice. Mega is an encrypted reincarnation of a notorious bootlegger's paradise.

There's also no auto-sync just yet. The handiest part of DropBox is that you forget it's there until you need it. It syncs without clicks. Mega, for now, requires you to upload files manually, which takes time and a modicum of effort.

It's also buggy. Because of the founder's notoriety, it immediately became one of the most popular storage services. This has resulted in a slow site with slower data transfer rates. It's crashing under the weight of popularity. There have also been reports that Mega freezes in browsers, especially in Internet Explorer.

Finally, there's no password recovery. Mega bills itself as "the privacy company." As part of this pledge, it does not store your password or encryption keys on its servers - it's all done on your computer. That means if you forget your password, your data is locked away forever. There is no recovery feature. Backing up locally is therefore essential.

The Verdict

If you're curious, take the plunge. It is free, after all. Though the service's drawbacks are many, we'd expect many of them to be ironed out in the next few months. For now, we wouldn't rely on this as your "daily driver." But as a free repository for large files and occasional access, it stands alone.

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